In Japan, there are many mountains. Some are small, some are large, and some are volcanoes.
One mountain I have been to and enjoyed climbing many times is Mt. Takao. It is located in west Tokyo, and you can get there fairly cheaply and easily by train if you’re coming from the Tokyo area. Takaosanguchi Station is at the base of the mountain, providing a convenient access point to those who want to climb it. You can get there via the Keio Line. Because of the station’s location, after getting off the train you can almost immediately begin your climb up the mountain.
There are multiple ways up the mountain you can take. I think probably the most popular one is to take a chair lift or gondola up the first half of the mountain, and climb the rest on foot. This way is suitable for a lot of people, because the first half of the mountain can be pretty steep. For less experienced climbers or people who want to have a relaxing climb, this is a good option. It also saves a lot of time and energy.
If you are up for a challenge, you can opt to go the whole way on foot. There is a road that zigzags up the mountain. A good point of this route is that it is very simple, and you know what to expect with the climb. A bad point is that it’s repetitive and very steep. I remember climbing up this way once and it was tough on the legs.
There is also a route you can take that is a bit more of a ‘nature path’. I have only been this way once on my way back down the mountain, so I’m not sure what it’s like to climb up. However, I think it’s probably my favorite Mt. Takao route. I seem to remember that it followed a mountain stream. I think this route is a little more dangerous than others, so if you choose this route, be careful.
Reaching the top of Mt. Takao can be easier or more difficult depending on the path you choose, but once you reach the top, you have a chance to rest. The top of the mountain is a large, open area with places to sit down, relax, and eat lunch if you want to. There’s a sign at the top that reads 599.15m. From this point, there’s a lookout from which you can see into the distance. Sometimes you can see Mt. Fuji from this point!
In my experience, Mt. Takao can be quite crowded, so if you are looking for some peace and quiet, perhaps try going there during times when you think there will be less people. I think you might also be able to hike over to other nearby mountains too, which probably have less people, though this might take a long time. There’s also the issue of getting back before it gets dark or before the gondola and chair lift stop running. This can be an issue even if you choose just to hike up Mt. Takao, so be mindful of the time if you go.
If you are looking for a mountain that is good for beginners, or are just looking for a relaxing climb, I recommend you try hiking Mt. Takao!
fairly (adverb) – to some extent but not very
steep (adjective) – rising or falling quickly, not gradually
be up for (expression) – to want to do something, or be willing to do something
lookout (noun) – a spot from which you can see into the distance